Firmly placing him in the “better late than never” group, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden won the election. After weeks of denial, it only took millions of votes, a litany of failed lawsuits, and certification from the Electoral College for him to do so.
Still though, this move has McConnell breaking rank from President Donald Trump’s acrimonious attempts to undermine the election results, making it a noteworthy event. And, McConnel not only recognized the results, but even took a moment to congratulate Biden on his win. “Many of us hoped that the presidential election would yield a different result, but our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. “The Electoral College has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.” According to The New York Times, he also congratulated Senator Kamala Harris, referring to her as the Vice President-elect.
In the lead up to his brief congratulatory statement, McConnell spent several minutes lavishing praises upon Trump for his four years in office. Listing what he said were some of the president's most important achievements, the Senate leader cited Trump’s appointment of three Supreme Court justices. McConnell made no mention of Trump’s continued accusations of widespread voter fraud or his baseless claims that he won by a landslide. Instead, he stuck to a narrative that shows that Trump is still firmly in place on the pedestal where McConnell has placed him. “The outsider who swore he would shake up Washington and lead our country to new accomplishments at home and abroad proceeded to do exactly that,” said McConnell adding that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “deserve our thanks.”
For the last six weeks, McConnell and many other Republicans stayed silent as Trump went on the warpath to overturn the election by lobbing unprecedented challenges against the nation’s voting system. It was only after the Electoral College certified the vote to elect Biden that a groundswell of leading Republicans got on board with the results. Some GOP lawmakers have sworn to support Trump right up to when Congress votes to accept or reject the Electoral College results on January 6. According to the Associated Press, others have said they will carry on with their support of the lame duck until Inauguration Day on January 20. “It’s a very, very narrow path for the president,” said top Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham. “But having said that, I think we’ll let those legal challenges play out.”
You don’t have to be an expert historian to know that this election process has been unprecedented and, frankly, tedious. But at least McConnell and some other Republicans are finally coming around to reality, leaving only Trump and his closest lackeys still in denial.